Supreme Court hearing on farmers’ tractor rally on R-Day today
The Supreme Court will be taking up an application filed by the Delhi Police to stop farmer unions from causing any disruption to the Republic Day celebrations in the Capital on Monday.
The application will be heard by a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde and justices L Nageswara Rao and Vineet Saran. The court had issued a notice on the application on January 12, the day when the three farm laws under challenge were stayed and a committee of four experts, formed to hear the concerns of the farmer unions along with the government’s response. The committee was asked to submit its recommendations in eight weeks.
The committee initially comprised Bhupinder Singh Mann (national president, Bharatiya Kisan Union and All India Kisan Coordination Committee), Pramod Kumar Joshi (agricultural economist, director for South Asia, International Food Policy Research Institute), Ashok Gulati (agricultural economist and former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices) and Anil Ghanwat (president, Shetkari Sanghatana).
However, two days after the Supreme Court order last week, Mann refused to be part of the committee and withdrew from the proceedings, which are to begin from January 22.
An affidavit filed by Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) Lokshakti demanding the removal of the remaining three members as well will be considered by the court on Monday too.
During the earlier hearing, the court had asked the Centre to verify if pro-Khalistani groups were present at the protest being held by farmer unions at Delhi’s borders. This allegation was made by Indian Kisan Union in an application moved before the top court. This union claimed that an organisation by name “Sikhs for Justice”, which is banned for the anti-India secessionist movement is financing the agitation. The bench had asked Attorney General KK Venugopal if this was true. Venugopal supported this averment but sought permission of the court to file an affidavit based on inputs received from Intelligence Bureau.
Other petitions demanding the protesting farmers to vacate the border roads and continue at designated protest sites in the Capital instead are also listed before the court. With news reports claiming that certain farmer unions will be taking out a tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day, the Centre will be pressing for a stay against any such move.
The Delhi Police, in its application seeking injunction against the farmers’ proposed tractor rally, told the court that the right to protest can never include maligning the nation globally.
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